Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Uncooked Rice and Plastic Eggs

No, I promise, this is not going to be a post about some weird recipe I found. This past Sunday a gentleman gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting and gave us an example of something I'd like to share with you today, as it's had me rethinking where my priorities may be skewed.

Think of a jar - large or small, doesn't matter. The jar is empty and the lid is off. Now think of two bowls. One bowl holds some uncooked rice, while the other contains some of those plastic Easter eggs (though this has nothing to do with Easter). Our goal is to fill the jar with both the rice and the eggs, and still be able to put the lid on when everything is filled.

First we put in the rice. It manages to fill our jar to a little over half. Next we take our plastic eggs and begin to stuff them into the jar. It doesn't take us long to realize we're not going to get all the eggs in. Way can try to stuff them in, but eventually they begin to crack and break. Nor will we be able to get the lid back on.

Knowing we need to rethink things we take the eggs back out of the jar and put them back in their bowl, and do the same with the rice. Being the absolutely brilliant beings I know we all are, this time we try putting in the eggs first. They fit perfectly into the bottle, but now is the true test. We take our bowl of rice and begin to pour it over our plastic eggs. To our amazement each individual piece of rice finds a little nook or slot to make a home. Sometimes we might have to shake the bottle to help everything find a place, but before we know it not only is there room for eggs and rice, but the lid fits on top as well.

Think of the eggs as the spiritual things in our lives, while the rice represents those things of the world that are necessary to keep us going, or we would just like to do. When we try to fit in all the secular things, we rarely have room for the spiritual. However, if we put the spiritual first, everything else will find it's place.

Life has been chaotic lately, not only for me but for so many I know. For myself, I have come to realize I've gained a recent "poor me" attitude. I've been so busy trying to take care of so many things for so many other people, my own spiritual needs have been slipping through the cracks. In other words, I've been filling my jar with rice.

This isn't to say the things I've been involved with have been unworthy causes. These activities and service provided certainly have merit. But when I begin to feel as though I'm being stretched too thin, the words of the counselor I saw last year starts running through my mind: you can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

And so I am forced to look at just how I am living my life lately. Here's what I've come to realize: no matter how fortified in vitamins and minerals, one cannot make it through an entire day on a bowl of cereal. Time to start eating better; even if the distance from the front porch to the mailbox feels like a mile, it does not count as a full day's exercise. Time to get moving; and no matter how much I ignore the laundry or attempt to master (or at least develop) the art of telekinesis, the laundry and bathroom simply will not do themselves. Time to get the house clean.

These are not difficult things to do. I managed a few loads of laundry today. My biggest problem is in recognizing where I really need to start. Reading the scriptures daily. I'm horrible at this. I can look and look and look at my Bible or Book of Mormon all day long, but it will do me know good unless I actually open them up and read the words. I need to pray more often. A few halfhearted sentences at the end of a very long day don't do me, nor my Heavenly Father, a whole lot of good. I need to begin my day with prayer, and keep a prayer constantly in my heart. I need to remember to ask for what I want and need. I'm fantastic about allowing things to happen as the Lord sees fit, but I always forget to ask in prayer for those things I want. And a request never sent out will simply not be fulfilled. Even if the request is for one little hour in which to read a book of my own choosing.

It is in the spiritual areas I need to focus on first. When I build up my spiritual reserves, the physical, emotional, and mental reserves will find themselves filled as well. All other things will naturally fall into place. I might have to shake things up a little for all my wants and needs to find a perfect fit, but it can be done.

So how about it? Is it time for you to take out your eggs and rice, and see where things really need to fit?


Ellen said...

I can sooo relate! Me, too.

Inspector Clouseau said...

Interesting. Nice blog work. I came across your blog while “blog surfing” using the Next Blog button on the blue Nav Bar located at the top of my blogger.com site. I frequently just travel around looking for other blogs which exist on the Internet, and the various, creative ways in which people express themselves. Thanks for sharing.